The American debut of a highly regarded European jazz composer and band conductor, and a set by Orange County's hardest-traveling blues export will highlight the musical schedule at "A Taste of Orange County."
Rob Pronk, Munich-based leader of the Dutch Metropole Orchestra, makes his performing debut in the United States at the KLON Jazz Festival, which takes place on the Taste Stage 1 from 8 p.m. to midnight on Saturday. (Preferred seating for this concert is available at $25 and $50.)
Pronk will conduct a 51-piece orchestra made up of area session players, including both a jazz band and a string section. Appearing with the orchestra are some high-profile soloists, among them the popular singer-pianist Diane Schuur and Art Farmer, the veteran trumpet and fluegelhorn player. Farmer, now based in Vienna, has performed Pronk's compositions in the past.
As for pop music, "Taste" has a rootsy slant heavy on blues, soul, R&B, reggae/World Beat and country music.
The James Harman Band, which will play on Stage 2 Sunday at 2 p.m., has been touring nationally for years and putting out a series of excellent albums: "Those Dangerous Gentlemens," "Extra Napkins," and "Strictly Live . . . in '85." Along the way, Harman, an Alabama-born Huntington Beach-based singer and harmonica player, has garnered several W.C. Handy Award nominations for blues excellence. Harman and band have another album due out this year on Black Top Records.